How Clair is Giving Hourly & Gig Workers Faster Wage Access


June 22, 2023

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For the tens of millions of hourly and gig employment workers in the U.S., having to wait for payday to receive the money they’ve already earned can make it much more difficult to manage finances and pay bills. This delayed wage access forces many workers to take out high-cost payday loans to make ends meet until their next paycheck.

Social impact-focused fintech provider Clair’s on-demand payment business model allows workers to escape that debt trap by instantly accessing no-cost wage advances based on the hours they’ve worked. 

The company’s offering is centered around a digital banking app that connects to employer payroll and time and attendance systems. Clair offers wage advances to eligible US-based employees who are at least 18 years old and who have a direct deposit sent to their Clair spending account, provided by Pathward. 

Galileo recently spoke with Anne Gottwalt, VP of Operations at Clair, about how the companies are working together to help millions of workers improve their overall financial health by getting earlier access to the money they’ve earned. 

Mission: “Clair's mission is to give financial freedom to America's workforce. We do this by providing on-demand wage advances, free of fees, through our partners,” said Gottwalt. 

Once users sign up and set their paycheck to be directly deposited into the Clair spending account, they can request advances of up to 50 percent of their daily gross earnings each day, up to a maximum of $1,500 each pay period. Once their next paycheck is deposited, those funds are used to repay the advance, with zero interest or fees charged. Instead, Clair earns a share of revenue from the swipe fees merchants pay on purchases made with the companion Clair debit Mastercard. The company also offers additional banking services such as ACH transfers, cash access at ATMs and merchant partners and savings accounts. 

Founding: Founded in 2019, Clair now is available at more than 20,000 employer businesses through partnerships with around a dozen time/attendance and payroll systems. 

Location: Headquartered in New York City

What Galileo Does for Them: Since partnering with Clair in 2021, Galileo has provided payment processing services on transactions made with the Clair debit Mastercard, which is available in physical and virtual formats, and supports additional digital banking capabilities for the Clair platform. 

“Galileo's been really important to us in how we evolve and continue developing our product, whether it's the set of APIs at our disposal, rich access to all the data, and also a lot of the product configurations,” said Gottwalt. “As we continue to evolve the banking infrastructure that we want to offer, we're able to tweak the product configurations through Galileo to unlock additional features and configurations for our user base.”

Use-Case: “To be able to access money from the shift you just worked as soon as you clocked out while you need gas on the way home; that's the space that we’re operating in and the barriers that we're looking to remove for users on our platform,” noted Gottwalt. 

The two-week pay cycle actually creates a lot of undue stress on hourly workers across the country. A lot of people end up in tough financial binds just because of that two-week pay cycle...
Anne Gottwalt
VP of Operations at Clair

Impact: “The two-week pay cycle actually creates a lot of undue stress on hourly workers across the country. A lot of people end up in tough financial binds just because of that two-week pay cycle,” Gottwalt noted. “The fact that employers sit on paychecks for two weeks is almost like an interest-free loan to the employer, when really the employee has worked shifts in that timeframe and would love to have access to those earnings.”

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